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No. 12 Ole Miss completes New Years Six blowout trend with Sugar Bowl win

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It was a rough couple of days for the state of Oklahoma in the New Years Six. 2015 ended with a dud from the Oklahoma Sooners in the first College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson and 2016 started with another dud from No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-3). The Cowboys were ambushed by No. 12 Ole Miss (10-3) in the Sugar Bowl on the first of the new year, 48-20, and it hardly felt even that close. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly tossed four touchdowns to earn Sugar Bowl MVP honors and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught three of them as Ole Miss helped cap a big couple of days for the SEC in bowl action.

Kelly ended his night having thrown for 302 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh split playing time in the defeat and totaled 302 passing yards between them with zero touchdowns, although Walsh did rush for two scores. Oklahoma State’s running game was taken out of the game early and ended the night with just 63 rushing yards. Keep in mind, Walsh rushed for 74 yards in the game.

Ole Miss actually started off a tad slowly in the game, but they managed to shake off any early rust the way they were unable to the last time they played a Big 12 team in the New Years Six (last year vs. TCU in the Peach Bowl; the Horned Frogs demolished Ole Miss). Hugh Freeze and his Rebels fell behind 3-0 off an early Oklahoma State field goal, but scored 34 points before halftime. They even had a little fun doing so by tossing a screen pass to offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil on the final play of the first half for a short touchdown nobody on Oklahoma State’s defense was prepared for in the closing seconds. Simply put, Freeze had more talent on his Ole Miss squad and he out-foxed Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy.

Freeze improved to 3-1 in bowl games since his arrival in Oxford. This was also the first Sugar Bowl victory, and first of the four traditional major bowl games, for the Ole Miss program since the 1969 season. This is also the first time Ole Miss has won 10 game sin a single season since going 10-3 in 2003 with Eli Manning at quarterback.

With the win, the SEC improved to 6-2 this bowl season, and the wins have come in dominant fashion. Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Auburn have all put up over 30 points in their bowl victories, and each won their games by at least 20 points. The SEC’s only losses have come from Texas A&M and Florida (who lost in a blowout against Michigan). The SEC still has favorable matchups to come as well with Arkansas getting Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. Georgia is a favorite against Penn State as well in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Alabama will get a chance to end the season with another postseason win too when they face Clemson in the national championship game one week from Monday night. Last year Ole Miss played a role in a disappointing bowl showing from the sEC, but this year the tale has been reversed.

The Big 12 is now a lowly 1-3 so far, with three more games to be played. Odds are not with the Big 12 though with Kansas State getting Arkansas, as mentioned above, and TCU without Trevone Boykin drawing a red hot and explosive Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. West Virginia also plays Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl, in Phoenix. The Big 12 is now also 1-3 in New Years Six bowl game sin two years under the new College Football Playoff structure, which is not a particularly great look.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

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Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.